Everton’s Iwobi and Rangers’ Balogun join Super Eagles as camp bubbles for Benin and Lesotho

18 players have arrived the team’s Eko Hotels and Suites ahead of the Afcon qualifiers against the Squirrels and the Crocodiles

Everton’s Alex Iwobi and Rangers centre-back Leon Balogun have joined Nigeria’s camp as the number of invited players for the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Benin Republic and Lesotho increased to 18 as at Monday night.

Former Arsenal star Iwobi was an 87th minute replacement for Mason Holgate as Carlo Ancelotti’s Toffees bowed 2-0 to Manchester City in Saturday’s FA Cup game at Goodison Park.

Elsewhere, Balogun provided an assist for Alfredo Morelos as Steven Gerrard’s Gers played a 1-1 draw with Celtic in Sunday’s Scottish Premiership showdown.

Captain Ahmed Musa, West Bromwich Albion’s Semi Ajayi, Fulham right-back Ola Aina and Watford centre-back William Troost-Ekong were the early arrivals for the important fixtures.

Galatasaray duo of Henry Onyekuru and Peter Etebo joined the team later alongside Boavista’s Chidozie Awaziem, AC Omonia’s Abdullahi Shehu and Abia Warriors’ Adekunle Adeleke.

Minutes after helping Enyimba subdue Sunshine Stars 1-0 in a Nigeria Professional Football League encounter at the Agege Stadium, the duo of Anayo Iwuala and John Noble teamed up with Gernot Rohr’s squad at the plush Eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria Island.

Meanwhile, goalkeeper Francis Uzoho, Samuel Chukwueze, Kelechi Iheanacho, Wilfred Ndidi and Zaidu Sanusi are expected before lunchtime on Tuesday.

The three-time African champions will hold their first training session at the Teslim Balogun Stadium on Tuesday morning.

They will leave for Cotonou on Friday before taking on Michel Dussuyer’s Squirrels at Porto-Novo’s Stade Charles de Gaulle on Saturday.

Three days later, Nigeria take on the Crocodiles in their last Group L game. The Super Eagles who lead their zone with eight points from four games need at least a win to guarantee their place in Cameroon 2022.

Should that happen, that will be their 19th appearance at the finals since their maiden appearance in Ghana 1963 – where they crashed out in the preliminary round.

Rohr’s men finished third at Afcon 2019, Egypt after defeating Tunisia 1-0 to pick up the bronze medal thanks to Odion Ighalo’s third-minute effort at Cairo’s Al Salam Stadium.

18 Eagles in camp

Musa, Troost-Ekong, Aina, Ajayi, Onyekuru, Etebo, Adeleke, Awaziem, Shehu, Iwuala, Noble, Iwobi, Balogun, Joe Aribo, Tyronne Ebuehi, Maduka Okoye, Jamilu Collins and Paul Onuachu.



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